China needs more time to deal with copyright piracy as it is a developing country, something the rest of the world should understand, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said recently.
Wen said China had set up a legal framework to protect copyrights, patents and trademarks and promised greater international cooperation, but outlined no new specific measures.
Piracy of everything from handbags to movies and car parts has poisoned relations between China and its largest trading partners in the European Union and especially the United States.
The United States, nursing a $202 billion trade deficit logged with China last year, has even threatened to take Beijing to the World Trade Organization over the issue.
“Frankly, it is only in recent years that we have given priority to the protection of intellectual property rights as a matter of strategic policy,” Wen told a small group of media in an interview.
“This has something to do with the level of development China has achieved, and China should be given some more time,” the premier said ahead of a week-long tour to Europe.
“But what I wish to stress is that no one should fail to see the Chinese government’s commitment to protecting IPR and the steps it has taken,” he added.
MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE
Washington believes Beijing could open the door to billions of dollars of increased US exports through tougher enforcement of laws on piracy and counterfeiting, which cost US businesses an estimated $250 billion annually around the globe.
Washington says about 70% of counterfeit goods that enter the United States are from China.
Last month, US Trade Representative Susan Schwab said in Beijing that while China has made significant improvements in fighting piracy of films, software and other patented and copyrighted products, much remained to be done. Despite repeated campaigns, strident calls in state media to protect intellectual property and well-publicized seizures of fake goods, pirated products can still easily be found all over China on street corners and even in department stores.
The latest Hollywood releases normally appear as unlicensed DVDs in China days after their official US release—or sometimes before.
Wen said the anti-piracy campaigns would not stop.
“We have launched special national operations against IPR infringement activities, and 50 centers have been set up across China for handling IPR violation complaints to step up the fight against copyright infringement and piracy,” he said.
“We have taken an active part in international cooperation and have ongoing dialogue with the EU on IPR protection.” (Reuters)